Tennessee-based LifePoint Hospitals is acquiring Winchester's Clark Regional Medical Center and plans to build a $60 million hospital to replace the current facility.
The Clark medical center will be LifePoint's ninth hospital in Kentucky and 48th nationwide. Construction of the 132,000-square-foot hospital is expected to begin later this year and take 18 to 24 months.
In a news release, Bob Fraraccio, chief executive officer of the Clark medical center, said "LifePoint operates non-urban hospitals very similar to Clark Regional and has a significant presence in the Lexington area. ... We believe this partnership is a great fit and will be a strong asset for our community."
LifePoint has hospitals in Georgetown, Paris and Versailles. The company would not disclose how much it is paying for the Clark medical center acquisition.
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Winchester mayor Ed Burtner said the Lifepoint acquisition shows that "Winchester and Clark County are a place where investment and opportunity exist." He said Lifepoint is looking for niches where area residents might need additional medical services.
Kenny Book, a Winchester city commissioner, said the acquisition and new hospital will help spark the city's economy.
"I think it will help Winchester bring more doctors in here, and it will be good for the tax base and probably bring more jobs in," Book said. "With the economy like it is, we can use all the jobs we can get."
Clark Medical has 100 licensed beds; the new hospital will also have 100 beds. The hospital has 500 employees.
A hospital has operated in Winchester since 1915; the hospital moved to its current location in 1967 and expanded in 1984. The current Clark Regional Medical Center includes a Women's Care Center, intensive care unit and emergency department.
Earlier this week, the St. Joseph Hospital group in Lexington — which includes hospitals on Broadway and off Richmond Road — opened its $60 million Women's Hospital at St. Joseph East, 19 miles away from the Clark medical center.